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Influenced by players from James Jamerson to Stanley Clarke, by the 1960s Williams was playing bass in a soul music band known as Sounds of Soul with Jai Johanny Johanson, the future drummer Jaimoe with the Allman Brothers.
In 1968 Williams was drafted into the United States Army and sent into the Vietnam War. Opposed to the war and to killing in general, Williams went AWOL frequently and wandered around the jungles of South Vietnam, occasionally returning to various units. He was given an honorable discharge in 1970.
After jamming with a Biloxi group known as the Fungus Blues Band, Williams joined the Allman Brothers Band in late 1972 after the death of original bassist Berry Oakley, and played in the band at the peak of their commercial success. When Williams auditioned, or 'tried out,' for the bass player gig with the Allmans, three songs in drummer Butch Trucks suddenly declared, "Enough of this tryout sh*t, let's rehearse." William's style was more traditional than Oakley's lead guitar-like approach, and freed the band's drummers to be more adventurous.
After the Allmans dissolved in 1976, Williams founded Sea Level with Jaimoe and Chuck Leavell of the Allmans. In Sea Level he played in a looser, more jazz-like fashion. Williams left Sea Level in 1980, shortly before that band broke up.
Williams married Marian Belina in 1974 and they had two children. One child, Lamar Williams Jr., is also a musician and currently plays with the Athens, GA based band the Revival.
One of Williams' brothers, James Williams, is also a bassist. He is a leader of the Lansing, Michigan-based blues band, Root Doctor.
- Lamar Williams Biography. Interview by Jim Schwartz in Guitar Player 1980 in www.allmanbrothersband.com
- Lamar Williams Tribute - Out Of The Shadows by John Lynskey in www.allmanbrothersband.com